Albert Decourtray

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His Eminence
Albert Florent Augustin Decourtray
Cardinal, Archbishop of Lyon
Church Roman Catholic
Archdiocese Lyon
Installed 1981
Term ended 16 September 1994
Predecessor Alexandre Renard
Successor Jean Marie Balland
Other posts Cardinal-Priest of Santissima Trinità al Monte Pincio
Prelate of Mission de France o Pontigny (1982-1988)
Ordination 29 June 1947
Consecration 3 July 1971
Created cardinal 25 May 1985
by John Paul II
Rank Cardinal-Priest
Personal details
Born (1923-04-09)9 April 1923
Wattignies France
Died 16 September 1994(1994-09-16) (aged 71)
Lyon France
Nationality French
Previous post Auxiliary Bishop of Dijon (1971-1974)
Bishop of Dijon (1974-1981)
Motto In Simplicitate
Coat of arms Albert Florent Augustin Decourtray's coat of arms
Styles of
Albert Decourtray
External Ornaments of a Cardinal Bishop.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Lyon

Albert Florent Augustin Decourtray S.T.D. (9 April 1923 – 16 September 1994) was a French Roman Catholic Cardinal and Archbishop of Lyon.


Early life[edit]

He was born in the hamlet of L'Amiteuse near Lille, France. He entered the minor seminary of Haubourdin in October 1940, later entering the Grand Seminary of Lille in 1941. He was ordained on 29 June 1947 and completed his studies at the Catholic Faculties of Lille in 1948. He then went to Rome in 1948 where he entered the Pontifical Gregorian University studying for a doctorate in theology. Which he was later awarded in 1951 with his thesis on Nicolas Malebranche. While in Rome, he was also chaplain of the church of Saint-Louis des Français.


After his ordination and completion of his studies from 1952 until 1966 he served as Professor of Holy Scripture at the Grand Seminary of Lille. He was also responsible for the formation of young priests of the diocese of Lille in 1958. He served as Vicar general of the diocese of Lille in 1966.

He was appointed as Titular Bishop of Ippona Zárito and appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Dijon by Pope Paul VI on 27 May 1971. He was appointed as Bishop of Dijon in 1974. He was bishop of Dijon until he was promoted to the metropolitan see of Lyon on 29 October 1981. He was elected Vice-president of the Episcopal Conference of France serving from 1981 until 1987 and was then elected its president that year, serving until 1990.

Decourtray was created Cardinal-Priest of SS. Trinità al Monte Pincio on 25 May 1985 by Pope John Paul II. He was a Member of the Council of Cardinals for the Study of the Organizational and Economic Problems of the Holy See from 1986. He was appointed an Officer of the Légion d'honneur in 1986. He resigned the prelature on 1 October 1988. He was elected, for one year, president of the Council of the Christian Churches of France on 17 November 1987. He received his first prize of the Droits de l'Homme in 1988. He was elected a member of the Académie française on 1 June 1993.

Personal life[edit]

Decourtray had one brother, Eliane, who died at 17, and two sisters, Paule and Blanche, who both died at a young age. He died at the age of 71 in 1994.


Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Jean-Marie Villot
Archbishop of Lyon
29 October 1981 – 16 September 1994
Succeeded by
Jean Marie Balland